Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Evening in the kitchen and a blog-around annoucement


(Yes, I will get to the table, indulge me for a moment before we get there.)

Jackie Kennedy would have turned eighty years old this week. In honor of her singular and unforgettable influence on grace, elegance, and style, Blushing Hostess will host a Grace in Everyday Life Blog-Around next Friday, August 7th. I will post a link widget here at Blushing Hostess Entertains that day, and you can swing by and put up your permalink for all readers to visit. Share a story, anecdote, photo, poem, song or any thing of beauty you consider an example of grace. You need not put up a new post if you have one up on your blog already which applies, then simply drop that permalink into the widget.

What do you say? Will you do this with me? Help to recognize elegance and gentility
in this life? I dare say my days would be improved with so very much more, and I look forward to your memories, to the things you return to when the world is not kind. I will post a reminder so be sure to subscribe now.



Now on to the table.

Dinner in our home is a movable feast: Sometimes the dining room, porch, or in the kitchen. If dinner is early or messy, it is in the kitchen. Last evening's supper was the latter and because the floor of the kitchen is tile, it is the best choice for feeding ancho chili and lime tacos to a two-year-old.

I also wanted for you to see that we dine in a rather unremarkable way (but, I hope, still graciously), on the occasional evenings at home. It is this way much more often now that I have these two tiny girls. I have a tiny kitchen table. The rule of thumb in setting a table is that each diner has two feet of space in which to eat to allow for elbow room. I cannot accommodate that on this table. Previously, the table was alternately the service table in my Mother's kitchen in Bedford, my study table while I was at Providence, and my dining room table when I was flat broke and newly on my own. I have looked for another table for many years and found nothing. Given this table's history, it could be a psychological block.



I set this table without really thinking but realized as I was taking the pictures how very important that tablecloth is; to me, that is. All the damask in the world does not climb to the esteem in which I hold that cloth. It was my paternal grandmother's. She died two years before I was born. That cloth survived the fire that destroyed my parents home and some of their blackened china was wrapped in it to remove it quickly before the salvage people arrived and removed literally everything. You might say it has seen its fair share of hell and survived to become a most precious object. Whenever I lay it and smooth it out on the table top, I look at the nearly faded stain, just off center and wonder what dinner of hers must have left that mark or which fire damaged object once nestled against it.



The plates were a gift from my beautiful friend Lois, I serve on them as much as possible because I like to think of her, she has been gone to the West a long time now. They are Italian, no pattern information. The kitchen flatware is, and will always be, Crate and Barrel's Revolution, it is heavy and sturdy but still twinkles. The condiment server is Lenox Butler's Pantry, a line I adore for the vast list of arcane serving products one can find in it and its ability to sit easily on a table with any other pattern.

I do not use taco boxes or mixes (ever, and that applies to everything), I spent a lot time working in Central America and love true Latin food. This was Ancho Chile and Lime Tacos with Rick Bayless's amazing sauce which is prepared quickly and painlessly and cloaks any number of healthy vegetables my Daughter would not knowingly consume otherwise.



So, what can I say? As you can tell, we drink enormous amounts of water, so the glasses have to be sixteen ounces. And regarding napkins, I practice what I preach: No paper, ever because I love oxygen that much, yes, but I also really cannot stand paper. So, nothing special. Just dinner in the kitchen as it was for my Brother and I before my parents parties, as it is for us some evenings now that we have two infants, and as I hope we always will be: Stuffed into a tiny but gracious space during a fierce rain storm with all the things that were handed down. And, I will take this over Cipriani any night.

Further tables can be found at Between Naps on the Porch , heirlooms at Emma calls me Mom, and pleasnt things at Hooked on Houses.

**Do not forget to follow me and enter the reader giveaways on the top left of the page.

30 comments:

The Countess of Nassau County said...

I will surely be joining you on the 7th.

While I'm here I wanted to beg a favor of you. Previously your blog extensively indexed your post topics, a feature I do not see in the current format. I would love to see this feature return someday. Indexing would allow folks like me to visit glorious topics such as napkins and laundry and revisit wonderful posts from the past.

A second thought. Now that the "Blushing Hostess Homekeeping" is no longer around (sniff, sniff) where did all those wonderful posts go? I know about a half dozen soon-to-be college freshman whose lives could be transformed by your laundry post!

All the best.

The Countess

Cal said...

I will join you on the 7th - graciously. Love the story of your tablecloth and it's so nice to hear how much you value things. They are transmuted from mere objects into items of memory and love and warmth.
Cal x

Martha said...

Gracious living to me is a tablecloth on the table, real napkins (leftovers at Linderhof are odd packages of foil because I don't have paper plates or paper napkins or paper towels). Real dishes and a centerpiece of fruit or flowers. There is nothing like a cozy kitchen supper -- fond childhood memories to me are the kitchen suppers -- so much more friendlier than the dining room ones.

Millie said...

What a wonderful idea! Love your table setting, everything sets off your yummy food so well. I'm sure your Grandmother would be delighted to see her cloth adorning your table with such style.
Millie ^_^

Maria Killam said...

Yummy! And I love the square plates!

susan said...

I am a new visitor to your blog and love what I see! I love the story about your grandmother's tablecloth. The history that goes with it makes it a pricless keepsake. I too long for more "genteel" days and accept with pleasure your kind invitation for the 7th. Please consider this my formal reply :)

K @ Blog Goggles said...

This looks delicious! I would love to try this out.

Debbie Pearson said...

Love the square plates, great backdrop for the round tortilla shells. Wonderful place setting.

ivoryspring said...

I enjoy your blog - thank you for visiting me and leaving a comment.

Marsha's Mpressions said...

Enjoyed your post and your blog. First time visitor!

Eileen said...

What a nice way to pay tribute to Jackie, I always liked her very much and thought she was the height of elegance and charm.

Love, love, love your square dishes and all the angles of the serving dishes! Beautiful!
And love the flatware!
All the best,
Eileen

Enchanted Rose Studio said...

The tablecloth is beautiful and hold such incredible memories for you, truly precious! Love the white square plates with the beaded edge. Your taco dinner looks so declicious!

Thanks for sharing!

Tina

little augury said...

this looks like a wonderful Idea. I would love to participate. la

Kim said...

I loved your post and your tablescape. I love the crisp white dishes with the bright red tablecloth. I loved the story about the table & the tablecloth. I wouldn't be able to part with either if they were mine as well. And the food, it looks & sounds so yummy!!!! Thanks for visiting my blog & leaving me a comment. It really means a lot to me.

Florida Sue said...

What a wonderful idea. I would love to join you. The tablecloth's history is amazing and I would cherish it too. I am enjoying catching up with all of your posts, you have a great blog.

paperglueetc said...

I will join you!! Great idea!

Erika said...

Those plates are great! And, I love your blog so far!

Feel free to check out my brand new blog at http://oopsicraftmypants.blogspot.com/

DesignTies said...

I love your table, the food on your table, the dishes on your table, your tablecloth, and your stories that go along with them all :-)

Mmmmmm, your homemade tacos look delicious!! Good call to eat them in the room with the tile floor -- tacos are messy!! But very yummy :-)

Kelly @ DesignTies

Porch Days said...

Beautiful table setting. We all need to do this for ourselves.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Love that photo of Jackie O. Your table is beautiful...wish mine looked like that. ;) Visiting from Julia's party. :)

Cass @ That Old House said...

Lovely family table setting! and I adore the tale of the tablecloth -- wonderful memories to treasure.
Thanks for sharing! I will probably see you also on the 7th.
Cass

ImagineCozy said...

Yum, I am hungary right now! It looks fantastic.

Jillian said...

Lovely post, I will try to be there! Thanks for sharing, your table looks inviting!

Things That Inspire said...

I love the story of the tablecloth. What a cherished heirloom!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I am visiting via Hooked on Houses. Such fun!

Please drop by and enter my giveaway.

Have a blessed weekend!

Rue said...

I love the history of your heirlooms. You tell it so well! I'm also officially starving now that I read this post ;)

rue

Frugal Fine Living said...

Wonderful post! I love that tablecloth and your tablescape is fabulous!

Jane

Lylah Ledner said...

My granddaughter, while looking over my shoulder at your pics, kept saying "amazing".....love it...

blessings...lylah

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

Nice tablecloth with special memories! Love those square plates!

Katherine

Rona's Home Page said...

I love how the plates and serving dishes work so well together.